Berlusconi the Survivor

I’m glad that Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted last week of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute at his ‘bunga bunga’ parties for lack of evidence.

An appeals court in Milan reversed the conviction delivered last year by a lower court in which the former Italian prime minister was sentenced to seven years in jail and banned for life from holding political office.

The original trial was perhaps the most lurid and sensational of the many trials Berlusconi has faced since entering politics twenty years ago.

The seventy-seven-year-old billionaire was accused of paying thousands of pounds for sex with Karima el-Mahroug, a Moroccan nightclub dancer nicknamed ‘Ruby the Heart Stealer’, who was seventeen at the time of the alleged offences.

Prostitution is only legal in Italy if the woman is above the age of eighteen.

Both deny they ever had sex and Mr Berlusconi insisted his bunga bunga parties were ‘elegant dinners’ rather than orgies in which young starlets and showgirls performed stripteases and danced around a priapic statuette.

Berlusconi might be a rogue whose lifestyle is perhaps not to everybody’s liking, but at least he’s a character whose flamboyant ways strike a chord with the hedonistic world that so many rich people inhabit – and that includes politicians, of course, whose sexual perversions are kept under wraps while pretending to be morally puritanical and guardians of the nation’s high standards of conduct.

When one looks around the globe, there are very few people in high positions who inspire confidence and are genuinely role models to follow and don’t bore your arse off.

Berlusconi is at least a joker’s juggler whose deeds are not more reprehensible than most, but a likeable devil whose presence makes the political scene a merry-go-round of uninterrupted mirth.

Comedians of his calibre are a necessary evil, if the political arena is to survive its worst decline in living memory.

Call me what you will, for I have a soft spot for the old goat.

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